Nearly 1 in 5 of the rioters charged in Capitol insurrection are military veterans, study shows

Azmi Haroun
·3 min read
capitol siege rotunda photo phone insurrection
Supporters of US President Donald Trump enter the US Capitol's Rotunda on January 6, 2021, in Washington, DC. - Demonstrators breached security and entered the Capitol as Congress debated the a 2020 presidential election Electoral Vote Certification. SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images

As members of the violent mob who stormed the US Capitol have slowly been identified and charged, a new report offers insights into the background and training of dozens of those rioters.

According to NPR, nearly 20% of the individuals facing federal charges or District of Columbia charges for participating in the January 6 insurrection are military veterans. The outlet identified that out of the more than 160 individuals facing charges, at least 27 have served or are serving in the US military.

Insider created a searchable database of those individuals charged for their participation in the Capitol siege, which also describes the charges against each individual. NPR reported that the majority of veterans were charged with violent entry and disorderly conduct on Capitol ground.

According to the US Census Bureau, only 7% of American adults are military veterans. The report comes after some rioters were photographed in military gear, and others openly planned and carried out the incursion using military jargon.

Larry Brock Jr., one of the rioters infamously photographed roaming the Senate chamber in a helmet, body armor and holding flex cuffs, posted on Facebook that he was getting ready for a "second civil war," and believed that the US was "under occupation by a hostile governing force," after Biden's win, according to court documents.

Brock also referenced an oath taken by members of the US military ahead of storming the Capitol, writing, "Against all enemies foreign and domestic."

A pair of off-duty Virginia police officers who stormed the Capitol were also military veterans, according to the report. Jacob Fracker, a member of the Marine Corps who was deployed to Afghanistan twice is also an active member of the Virginia National Guard. His colleague, Thomas Robertson, is an army veteran.

According to court documents, Fracker posted on Facebook after the insurrection, saying he was "proud" of storming the Capitol and felt he "did nothing illegal."

The revelations fit in with a broader conversation about extremism within the ranks of the US military, namely after the National Guard expelled two soldiers ahead of the inauguration due to their connections to extremist, white nationalist groups.

Federal prosecutors have also levied charges against members of the far-right extremist groups Oath Keepers as well as Proud Boys.

Oath Keepers in particular recruits active duty military members as well as veterans due to their weapons training. NPR's report identified that navy veteran Thomas Edward Caldwell and Marine corps veteran Donovan Ray Crowl were charged by federal prosecutors for conspiracy to obstruct the electoral vote, and both are alleged Oath Keepers.

According to a 2019 survey conducted by the Military Times, close to one-third of active duty troops said they had "personally witnessed examples of white nationalism or ideological-driven racism within the ranks in recent months."

After the January 6 riots, a US Defense Department official told NPR that there were 68 new investigations the FBI is inquiring into related to former and current military members having ties to domestic extremist groups.

During President Biden's inaugural address, he referenced,"a rise in political extremism, white supremacy, domestic terrorism that we must confront and we will defeat."

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